Originally published: https://multipolarista.com/2022/04/29/us-dhs-disinformation-nina-jankowicz/
The authoritarian Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that oversaw the War on Terror created a “Disinformation Governance Board,” led by anti-Russia information warrior Nina Jankowicz, who ran regime-change ops at a CIA front, smears independent anti-war US media outlets as “Russian disinfo,” and called WikiLeaks “scum.”
By Benjamin Norton | 29 April 2022
The US government has created what is essentially a Ministry of Truth. It is led by a censorial cold warrior who worked for a CIA cutout overseeing regime-change operations targeting Russia and Belarus, and who smears independent anti-war American media outlets as supposed “Russian disinformation.”
This new US information czar has also denounced whistleblowing journalistic publication WikiLeaks as “scum,” claiming without evidence that it is part of a supposed Russian “operation” that spreads so-called “malinformation.”
Washington’s de facto Ministry of Truth will be overseen by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which is infamous for violating civil liberties in the name of the so-called War on Terror.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has warned of DHS’ authoritarian tendencies and called for it to be dismantled. Noting the department’s use of “horrific tactics” against protesters, the ACLU wrote that the “short history of DHS has been filled with violence, the stoking of fear, and a lack of oversight.”
In 2018, DHS published a press release that echoed the white-supremacist “14 words” slogan used by neo-Nazis.
Instead of reining in this scandalous department, the US government is giving DHS even more power over Americans’ freedom of speech.
On April 27, 2022, DHS announced the creation of a “Disinformation Governance Board,” which it said would be dedicated to combatting so-called “Russian disinformation.”
CIA Director William Burns had admitted back in a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in March that the United States is waging an “information war” on Russia, and boasted that its President Vladimir “Putin is losing.”
DHS’ new Disinformation Governance Board is part of this US government information war, which is in turn a key front in Washington’s new cold war on both Russia and China.
In the guise of fighting supposed “Russian disinformation,” this notoriously authoritarian US institution is threatening to impose more censorship on critics of Washington’s foreign policy. And it has recruited a hard-line information warrior to lead these efforts.
Nina Jankowicz: Cold warrior who helped run regime-change ops at CIA cutout
To run this Disinformation Governance Board, the Joe Biden administration selected a fanatical cold warrior named Nina Jankowicz.
Jankowicz claims to be an expert on so-called “disinformation”; in reality she is an anti-Russia information warrior who has extensive experience working for the US and Ukrainian governments, including a shady CIA cutout.
This newly appointed executive director of DHS’ Disinformation Governance Board has smeared independent American media outlets that expose crimes committed by the US government abroad as vehicles for purported “Russian disinformation,” and has clearly suggested that she supports censoring them.
Jankowicz established herself professionally in Washington by working for several years for the National Democratic Institute (NDI).
This NDI is a branch of the US government’s National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a CIA front created by the Ronald Reagan administration at the end of the first cold war to fund regime-change operations from the Eastern Bloc to Nicaragua.
NED co-founder Allen Weinstein admitted in the Washington Post in 1991, “A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.”
The NDI is an arm of the NED that is affiliated with the Democratic Party. (The Republican Party has its own branch of the NED, called the International Republican Institute, or IRI.)
At the NDI, Jankowicz oversaw so-called “democracy assistance programs” in Russia in Belarus. In other words, she helped run regime-change operations aimed at overthrowing these independent Eastern European governments.
US intelligence cutouts like the NDI frequently use “democracy assistance” as a euphemism to mean regime change.
According to her NDI bio, Jankowicz joined the CIA cutout in 2013, and worked for two years on destabilization operations targeting Russia and Belarus.
Then in 2015, she moved to the NDI’s “Government Relations and Communications team,” where Jankowicz said she bridged “her passion for democracy assistance and social media.”
In a 2016 article in Democracy Works, the NDI’s official publication, Jankowicz described herself as “someone who has made a career in democracy assistance.”
“I have worked in support of democratic progress around the world since 2011 and joined NDI in fall 2013,” she boasted.
Jankowicz added that she was “proud to be a participant in democratic progress in the United States and and proud to work for NDI — an organization that supports democratic progress the world over.”
Nina Jankowicz smears independent US media outlets as “Russian disinfo”
When Donald Trump won the 2016 US presidential election, the Democratic Party hatched a conspiracy theory that blamed Russia for Hillary Clinton’s loss. Many Democratic operatives in Washington subsequently transitioned their careers to cash in on the “counter-disinformation” racket.
Jankowicz moved away from “democracy assistance” and rebranded herself as an expert on so-called “Russian disinformation.”
She moved to Ukraine and began working for its new right-wing, viciously anti-Russian government, which had been installed after a violent US-sponsored 2014 coup.
Jankowicz boasts on her website that, from 2016 to 2017, “she advised the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry on disinformation and strategic communications.”
Jankowicz’s work for Ukraine’s post-coup regime was sponsored by a US Fulbright-Clinton Public Policy Fellowship.
After her year in Ukraine, Jankowicz was given a cushy position as a “disinformation fellow” at the Wilson Center, a hawkish US government-funded think tank that advocates for an aggressive foreign policy.
There, Jankowicz worked on churning out anti-Russia information warfare for the Kennan Institute, named after infamous cold warrior George F. Kennan, a US diplomat who helped to create “containment” policy toward the Soviet Union.
Meanwhile, Jankowicz spread some disinformation of her own, citing US spies to repeatedly claim that the leak of files from Hunter Biden’s laptop was part of a “Russian influence op.” (The authenticity of these files was later confirmed by both the New York Times and Washington Post.)
Jankowicz also set her targets on independent anti-war media outlets, smearing them as so-called “Russian disinformation.”
On Twitter in November 2017, Jankowicz attacked the whistleblowing journalistic publication WikiLeaks, calling it “scum.”
In May 2018, she accused WikiLeaks of spreading “malinformation,” although the outlet has been shown to have 100% accuracy in all of its publications.
Jankowicz claimed, without any evidence, that “Wikileaks is a cog in a much larger [Russian] operation.” She also implied that WikiLeaks’ founder and former editor Julian Assange, a UN-recognized political prisoner persecuted by the US government, is part of a “Russian influence op.”
The current US information czar similarly went after independent journalists in the United States.
On Twitter in 2020, Jankowicz boasted that she had blocked journalist Aaron Maté, a critic of US foreign policy who exposed many of the lies behind the Russiagate conspiracy theory.
Jankowicz called the independent US news website The Grayzone “a source of disinfo,” claiming that it was supposedly “implicated in a Russian disinfo op.”
The current US government official, who made her career overseeing US regime-change operations in Eastern Europe, claimed The Grayzone “spreads incredibly damaging disinformation” and “calls popular protests ‘color revolutions’ and papers over Stalinist crimes against humanity.”
In addition to blocking Maté on Twitter, Jankowicz blocked the author of this present report, Multipolarista editor Benjamin Norton, even though he had never engaged with her.
Jankowicz’s eagerness to block independent American journalists who are critical of US foreign policy clearly shows that this cold warrior is not very concerned about the freedom of speech or freedom of the press.
As a so-called “disinformation expert” at the US government-funded Wilson Center, Jankowicz also went after independent journalists who exposed the US government’s role in waging a decade-long dirty war on Syria, in which the CIA armed and trained Islamist extremists linked to al-Qaeda and ISIS.
When American journalist Ben Swann correctly said in May 2018 that the US government was funding the Syrian opposition group the White Helmets, Jankowicz declared that he was a “conspiracy theorist” who should be censored.
It is an objective, undeniable matter of public record that the US government gave tens of millions of dollars to the White Helmets. In fact mere weeks after Jankowicz’s tweet, in June 2018, the Donald Trump administration gave the Syrian opposition group an additional $6.6 million.
Similarly, Jankowicz has repeatedly rejected the undeniable historical fact that the US government backed a violent coup in Ukraine in 2014, calling it “Russian disinformation.”
While Jankowicz markets herself as a “disinformation expert,” in reality she is a devoted soldier in the US government’s information war on Russia.
In 2020, Jankowicz made her status as an information warrior clear as day, publishing a book titled “How to Lose the Information War: Russia, Fake News, and the Future of Conflict.”
While Jankowicz frequently smears Cuba, Venezuela, Russia, and other targets of US foreign policy as “authoritarian” (and even accuses Cuba and Venezuela of supposedly meddling in US elections), she had no problem working for an authoritarian right-wing regime in Ukraine.
Jankowicz advised Ukraine’s government when it was led by billionaire oligarch Petro Poroshenko, who only came to power thanks to the violent overthrow of former elected president Viktor Yanukovych in a coup in which neo-Nazis and far-right extremists played a key role.
Poroshenko’s regime imposed a series of far-right, anti-democratic policies, banning all communist parties and making it a crime punishable by years in prison to use socialist symbols or sing the leftist anthem The Internationale.
The Poroshenko regime made it mandatory for Ukrainians to honor Nazi collaborators like Stepan Bandera, turning fascists who participated in massacres of Jews, Poles, and Romanis during World War II into official, state-appointed national heroes, while simultaneously banning books that exposed their crimes.
Jankowicz is likewise eerily quiet about atrocities committed by the United States. Although she is very active on Twitter and constantly condemns US anti-war journalists for supposedly being soft on Russia, Jankowicz has never mentioned the seven-year war on Yemen.
Jankowicz is sure to never diverge from the bipartisan neoconservative foreign policy consensus in Washington.
She strongly supported Hillary Clinton and her ultra-hawkish foreign policy, tweeting in 2016, “So proud to support HRC as she calls out boundless Russian aggression in Syria.” Jankowicz added the hashtag #ImWithHer.
Jankowicz has similarly fawned over former US secretary of state Madeleine Albright, repeatedly referring to her as her “role model.” In an interview on CBS’ program 60 Minutes in 1996, Jankowicz’s role model justified the deaths of half a million Iraqi children due to suffocating sanctions, claiming it was “worth it” to advance US foreign policy interests.
Democrats try to rebrand Bush-era DHS, giving it power over freedom of speech
During the Donald Trump administration, many Democratic politicians condemned the Department of Homeland Security, highlighting in particular the horrific abuse of migrants and refugees carried out by Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE), which is overseen by the department.
The fact that proud Democrats like Jankowicz and the Biden administration would embrace this notoriously authoritarian department in order to escalate the new cold war on Russia and China reflects how DHS is trying to rebrand.
The Department of Homeland Security was created by the George W. Bush administration after the September 11, 2001 attacks, and was a fundamental part of the architecture of mass surveillance and the so-called War on Terror.
Given DHS’ close associations with these repressive right-wing policies, some Democrats even claimed they wanted to abolish the department.
Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC), for instance, proposed dismantling DHS in 2019, stating, “Don’t let people rewrite history as if DHS/ICE always existed, or is a no-brainer. It’s a young agency, ill-conceived after 9/11 & sacrificed our civil liberties – like the Patriot Act.”
But many Democrats who superficially opposed DHS during the Trump era have since done a political 180. The Biden administration has helped the department try to rebrand as a supposedly “anti-extremist” institution, claiming it is combatting far-right groups in the United States.
DHS in fact deceptively announced the creation of its “Disinformation Governance Board” by claiming it would be focused on opposing racist fake news spread by right-wing demagogues about immigrants. This was transparently an attempt to deceive liberal critics into believing the institution could serve progressive ends.
This is political cover for DHS’ main activities, which in addition to terrorizing immigrants and refugees also are focused on surveilling left-wing protesters who oppose US government policies, especially its hawkish foreign policy.
The ACLU has emphasized that “DHS has surveilled Black Lives Matter activist circles; descended into mosques and community centers to infiltrate Muslim communities; shot and killed foreign nationals across the border; and monitored protests using fusion center intelligence sharing hubs.”
But the Biden administration, just like the Trump administration, has joined in the bipartisan campaign to strengthen this authoritarian institution, by giving it power to police Americans’ access to information.
This is a flagrant US government attack on the freedom of speech and freedom of the press. It demonstrates how, as Washington escalates its new cold war on Russia and China, civil liberties are increasingly under threat.